NORTH PARK — Cole Makuch and Xander Gottfried didn't set out to make a political statement.
Back in September, when the juniors at Northside College Prep pitched a sculpture of Donald Trump sitting on a toilet as their project for an art class, they had no idea he'd be the Republican front-runner for president at this point in the campaign.
"Honestly, I just thought it would be funny," said Makuch, 16.
"He's a powerful dude ... he's such a big figure, his ego is huge, we wanted to put him in a compromising position," Makuch explained.
The teens' art teacher, Joanne Minyo, generally gives her students' free rein when it comes to following their muse, but she had a couple of reservations about Makuch and Gottfried's concept.
For starters, even though the boys were enrolled in the school's advanced "20 Hour" art class — which requires at least 20 hours of work on students' own time — the degree of difficulty the two were attempting was, in a word, "ridiculous," Minyo said.
"When they first said life-sized Donald Trump out of clay ... that's incredibly challenging," she said. "They had never sculpted a head before."
Minyo also had a conversation with the boys about "what happens when Trump is irrelevant" come February, when the project would be included in Northside's "20 Hour Show."
"As [Trump's] gotten more and more ridiculous on the stage ... his ridiculousness there is just as ridiculous as on the toilet," Gottfried, 17, said.
Despite the joking nature of their subject matter, sculpting the figure — officially titled "It Comes Out Both Ends" — was a serious endeavor, with the teens learning on the fly.
"I spent more time on this than every other class combined," Makuch said.
Trump's head, arms and legs are all ceramic, with the head alone accounting for more than half the project's time.
"I spent way too much time staring at a picture" of Trump, said Makuch.
Trump's open mouth is a practical, as opposed to artistic, choice: the sculpture is also a guitar amp, and the opening is needed for sound.
During a field trip to SOFA Chicago back in November, the teens more or less stalked acclaimed artist Tip Toland, who's renowned for her hyper-realistic ceramic sculptures, and picked up key pointers in molding and painting Trump's skin.
The Donald's torso is largely smoke and mirrors, concocted of wood stakes and puffed up with stuffing scarecrow-style. The toilet was scavenged from a contractor Makuch knows and Trump is clothed in a suit, tie and shoes borrowed from Gottfried's dad.
They had to buy the shirt — Trump's neck is a massive size 18.
Though Makuch and Gottfried's efforts earned an A+ grade from Minyo — "I'm so incredibly proud ... conceptually it all comes together," she said — their greater goal of making a fortune off Trump have yet to be realized.
They put the sculpture for sale on eBay and ... nothing.
"I hoped to make at least $100,000," Makuch said. "The expectations were there and our high hopes came crashing down."
With Trump in town Friday, the students are thinking maybe the real estate mogul will make them an offer.
What's the absolute minimum they'd accept?
"It needs to pay for the suit and shoes," Gottfried said.
Trump on a toilet will be on display during Northside's annual Elephant With Riders community art event, featuring exhibits and student-run art workshops 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 5501 N. Kedzie Ave. Admission is free and attendance is open to the public.
Xander Gottfried and Cole Makuch with their art project, "It Comes Out Both Ends." [DNAinfo/Patty Wetli]
Trump's open mouth is a practical, as opposed to artistic, choice. The sculpture is also a guitar amp, and the opening is needed for sound. [DNAinfo/Patty Wetli]
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: